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At the exhibition "Svyaz-Expocomm- 2003" ending today in the Moscow Expocentre , devices for tracking a moving object and Russian-made telematics equipment are presented for the first time. Similar imported systems are expensive - more than $ 1 thousand for one car, and therefore the car tracking market in Russia is still poorly developed. But with the advent of domestic, much more affordable equipment, the situation promises to change. Not only car owners are waiting for this, but also insurance companies - such systems significantly reduce the risk of theft and the cost of the insurance policy.

Corporate surveillance

Even at last year's Svyaz-Expocomm , Race Communications, PRIN and the mobile operator MegaFon demonstrated a joint project WebLocator is a system for monitoring vehicles and searching for stolen cars. It works like this: on the electronic map of Moscow posted on the Race Communications website, a label depicting a car crawls. The device installed in the car that circled around the Expocentre was equipped with a GPS satellite navigator that determined its coordinates with an accuracy of 100m. Then the coordinates in the form of SMS messages are transmitted through a special module equipped with a Megafon SIM card to the data processing center, and then to a special server on the Internet. By typing the password, the site visitor can see all the movements of the car on it.

However, GPS/ GSM systems can not only monitor the movements of the car, they themselves, without the help of a person, can control it (this function is called fleet control). For example, it will turn off the engine if the car deviates from the route set on the map . This option is relevant both for anti-theft systems and for dispatching centers of carrier companies, it excludes the possibility of left flights of official vehicles and other inappropriate use of transport. That is why the new services, which were put into commercial operation in late 2002 - early 2003 by all three major Russian mobile communication companies - Mobile Telesystems, Vimpelcom and MegaFon, are primarily interested in corporate clients.

It is difficult to judge the scale of the corporate market even in Moscow: banks, security agencies, large cargo carriers do not at all seek to advertise who and how equips their transport with navigation and telematics systems. However, the scale of the announced projects is impressive. First of all, we are talking about the "Navigation and Telematics System for City Administration and the Population" (SNT), which is currently being created by MTS P, a subsidiary of Sistema and the Moscow government, as part of the Electronic Moscow program. About $40 million should be invested in the project, which is planned to be implemented by the end of 2004. With this money, public transport in Moscow, ambulances, police, firefighters and other special services will be equipped with navigation devices - with their help they will choose the optimal routes around the capital and avoid traffic jams.

Elite security

Unlike corporate, the market volume of mobile positioning and navigation systems for motorists is still extremely small. The most successful mobile navigation and telematics project for private users is the Caesar satellite security system for cars The satellite of the Alarm Service company has gained about 3 thousand subscribers. The project started back in 2001, however, according to the company's PR manager Denis Shevchenko, active sales began only in May-April last year. This is the most expensive of the security systems on the Russian market: the subscription fee is $40-70 per month, including mobile operator services, at the cost of a mobile device of $1, 5-3 thousand. However, Alarm Service believes that their system has a number of advantages over competitors' products. "Unlike other companies, we do not use SMS messages for communication, but a direct data transmission channel," he says Denis Shevchenko, - this explains the high cost of services. But our system it is as user-friendly as possible. For example, if a driver is taken hostage, we don't block the engine - it can be just murderous. In such a situation, the system can turn on the microphone installed in the cabin, and our operator, having understood the situation, will transmit the information along with the traffic police (getting into the car, the owner must complete the authorization procedure - if this does not happen, a signal about the seizure is sent to the control panel .- "Kommersant"). The direct communication channel allows you to track the car in real time - the car will not "jump" on the terrain map, and our operators always know about its exact location."

According to experts from Nexo, the Moscow market of equipment for individual users is about $1-1. 5 million per year. The volume from the provision of services is estimated at about $6 million per year . "Now about 10 thousand motorists use this service in Moscow," says Dmitry, Nexo's commercial director Chetverikov.- The vast majority are owners of expensive foreign cars worth at least $ 20 thousand. In most cases, their owners simply cannot afford to equip cheaper cars with such a system ." Mister Chetverikov, like other market participants, believes that the main reason for the rather slow progress of mobile positioning and navigation systems is the high cost of equipment - from $ 1 thousand to $3 thousand (plus the cost of installation - about $200 more). Therefore , Nexo's plans for this and next year are very modest: "By the end of this year, we expect to sell about 1.5 thousand. car security systems based on GPS/GSM technology, in the next - about 3 thousand more."

The hopes that the GPS/GSM service will become more accessible and more widespread are associated by market participants with a decrease in equipment prices and the appearance of Russian-made subscriber equipment on the market. Its first samples are presented at the current exhibition "Svyaz-Expocomm" by the Perm plant "Morion". They were created as part of a joint project with Motorola and the Danish company RTX. Morion's capacities allow producing up to 1 million GPS/GPRS terminals per year. The price of the terminals, whose mass production is due to begin in September, has not yet been disclosed, but the project participants say that they will belong to the "lowest price segment" - less than $ 400. However, some experts doubt that such a retail price is low enough for Morion terminals to be in demand on the mass market. "$400 is actually the ceiling for the lower price segment," says Mikhail Khanzhinsky from Race Communications.- The cost of the terminal for the mass market should be much less, somewhere around $ 200-250."

In the long term, companies are counting on hundreds of thousands of subscribers. According to forecasts of some market participants, there are now up to 500 thousand potential users of mobile positioning and navigation services in Moscow alone. "We entered the market to provide services en masse," says Dmitry Chetverikov, - and we hope that when the prices for terminals drop to an acceptable level, the number of users in Moscow will grow at least tenfold. Accordingly, the market volume of positioning and telematics devices will grow to $10-15 million."

"According to our forecasts," says Anton Pogrebinsky, an analyst from ACM-Consulting, "by 2007-2008 , only in Moscow and only through the provision of the most popular services - navigation, security, control of mobile objects - cellular companies will receive income exceeding $ 20 million per year."

Cellular insurance

Despite the fact that mobile positioning and telematics systems are not in high demand yet, market participants repeat with one voice: the conquest of the mass market will become a reality sooner or later . They hope not only that subscriber terminals will become cheaper, but also for outside help - from companies engaged in motor transport insurance. Insurers, in turn, have been actively interested in cellular and satellite security systems since their appearance. Moreover, for connecting the car to one of these systems, they give significant discounts when insuring the car from theft. As Igor Ivanov, Deputy general director of RESO-Garantia, told Kommersant , if there is a connection to the tracking system, an insurance policy against theft costs the car owner 60% cheaper. However, insurers are often cautious about innovations. For example, the Renaissance Insurance company also considers cellular and satellite security systems promising: "The market for search and security complexes is growing," says Andrey, head of the Renaissance Insurance Motor Vehicle Insurance Department Ivanov," and we are closely following his development."

However, the company provides lower discounts to its customers who install these systems on the most risky cars from the point of view of theft - up to 15%. Mr. Ivanov explains this by the fact that none of the currently existing complexes guarantees 100% protection of the car from theft or its return in case of theft.

TATIANA GRISHINA, VALERY KODACHIGOV Kommersant (Moscow) 16.05.2003, No. 083, p. 20

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